Why being kind to others is good for us

To mark World Kindness Day (13 November 2019), Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing at Birmingham City University, Kim Moore, explains why being kind to others is good for own mental health.

Kim Moore says:

“A smile is a little gift of kindness to everyone. Smile and the world smiles with you – more importantly you noticed the other person, and when you smile at someone, they generally smile back.

“This exchange of smiles actually triggers physical changes in your body, sparking the chemical reactions that give you a good, positive feeling. This World Kindness Day, try it out and smile at someone.

“Acts of kindness don’t have to be grand gestures. Even the smallest acts of kindness can give both the giver and the receiver a boost to our mental wellbeing.

“Hold the door open for someone else, pick up something they dropped on the floor, lend a colleague a pen, give up your seat on the bus or train, or if you’re a driver, let someone out ahead of you. There are so many ways we can help others – big and small.

“There is evidence to show that helping someone else is good for our own wellbeing, giving a feeling of confidence – and of course, the person you are helping will feel more positive too.

“Celebrate the good, give someone an honest compliment. Not only does this make them a boost, it makes you feel good too. The courage to give and receive positive feedback and own this can be difficult, so when someone pays you a compliment, accept it with grace and pay it back.

“Being kind to ourselves is probably one of the hardest acts of kindness to do. We are often our own worst critics, and whilst at times this can be good for motivation, at others it can be rather punishing.

“This World Kindness Day, reward yourself with an act of self-kindness. It doesn’t have to big. You could write yourself a message – reminding yourself that ‘I did good today’ can be enough. Or treat yourself to an hour of ‘me time’, a favourite bar of chocolate or a hug from a loved one.

“Set yourself daily challenges to do something kind. Give someone a hug, volunteer to help out with something at work, share with someone. Text a positive message to a family member or friend, hold the door open, or smile at someone you don’t know.

“By continuously exchanging these little acts of kindness, we can all help to improve our own mental wellbeing and that of those around us.”

Find out more about Mental Health Nursing at Birmingham City University at the institution’s upcoming Open Day on Sunday 24 November.